Day trip: Hyde Street Pier San Francisco

San Francisco Maritime National Park

San Francisco Maritime National Park

We usually take a few days a year to be tourists in our own city; to explore the things we never do, because we live here.  

Our morning began with a brisk run. For the second year in a row, our girls participated in the Munchkin Run as a part of the SF Marathon. Todd and I beamed with pride as our girls crossed the finish line and received their medals!

 

Maisy getting her run on.

Maisy getting her run on.

Maren catching up to her sister.

Maren catching up to her sister.

After the run, the touring began! We took one of the historic F Market trains to the far end of Fisherman’s Wharf toward Hyde Street Pier.  The pier is home to the SF Maritime National Historical Park and 6 very cool ships that have been transformed into museums – really nice museums.

After paying $5 admission per adult, which includes a free guided cell phone tour, (keep your receipt, it’s good for admission up to 5 days afterward), we walked up the pier. Along the way, there are pulleys and knot tying displays that are informative and interactive - the kids had a lot of fun playing with the ropes and lifting cargo. We were thinking, oh this is pretty cool... then we boarded the ships.

 

In a tiny row boat on the beach next to the pier.

In a tiny row boat on the beach next to the pier.

Maren and Maisy testing the pulley systems of ships.

Maren and Maisy testing the pulley systems of ships.

A view from the pier up to Ghirardelli.

A view from the pier up to Ghirardelli.

Looking toward the historic Hyde Street Pier:  Balclutha to the left, Eureka right under the sign for the pier and Hercules in the back between the two.

Looking toward the historic Hyde Street Pier:  Balclutha to the left, Eureka right under the sign for the pier and Hercules in the back between the two.

The first ship we visited, The Balclutha, is full on cool.  Many interactive displays guided us through as we learned about the many stages of the ship's life - in San Francisco, the Pacific Northwest, Australia and Alaska. The living quarters were fully restored with the cargo area designed to display all of the different types of cargo that was carried throughout the years. The girls absolutely loved exploring.  This was our favorite ship.  Plus, it looked like a pirate ship to them.

Maisy pretending to drive the ship.

Maisy pretending to drive the ship.

Maren peeping through the port hole below.

Maren peeping through the port hole below.

We then headed over to the Eureka, a steam powered ferry, which used to work in the Bay. It is very well preserved, and fully loaded with countless restored vehicles of the time.  They do a wonderful job showing the inner workings of the paddles that helped to move the ferry.

The girls exploring the ferry.

The girls exploring the ferry.

The Steam Tug Hercules was next, it also was pretty cool, showing off the captains bunks and engines, but that tour was cut short by Maren needing to potty.  

The CA Thayer was being restored, so we didn’t get to see much, but I imagine it will be pretty cool too when finished.

There were more ships, and a small craft exhibit that Todd wished was open, but the day was getting long, so we left the pier and headed to the Maritime Museum Visitor’s Center across the street in the Argonaut Hotel.  It is a superb hands on interactive museum about the Bay Area and how ships helped to make the city what it is today.  Maisy even took her Junior Ranger’s Test at the visitor's information desk where she earned her Junior Ranger badge.

 

Maisy working on her test booklet.

Maisy working on her test booklet.

Todd and the girls watching a film about the ports of the Bay.

Todd and the girls watching a film about the ports of the Bay.

Maisy, the Junior Ranger.

Maisy, the Junior Ranger.

By this time we had to return home because Mina, the labradoodle, needed her people and we hopped back on the street train, then back on to BART and walked our tired selves home.

 

Maren rides the train like a pro.

Maren rides the train like a pro.

How do you tour in your city?  I'd love to hear it, please share in comments.  Be sure to subscribe via email, follow on Facebook and on Pinterest so you don’t miss any fun updates! Thanks for reading.

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becky

I'm a part-time work from home, full time stay at home mom to two daughters and an Australian Labradoodle puppy. We are enjoying our last year before big girl school, playing with friends, swapping childcare to get the job done and getting crafty when we can fit it in. We live together in a wonderful community that we are truly thankful for and proud to be a part of. It takes a village and this is ours.